For a lot of people coffee is any caffeinated liquid that wakes you up in the morning or helps you stay more alert throughout the day. But there are those worldly individuals for whom coffee is a passion, and its tastes and flavors are complex and intricate. In Beirut everyone “goes out for a coffee”, but who actually savours or understands it? A coffee expert once told me that coffee is much like wine, in that where and how it’s grown and processed makes a huge difference in how it tastes. How beans are roasted and what machine is used to make the coffee are all huge factors. While many boast that they are wine connoisseurs, we have yet to see a widespread “coffee culture”. Sadly that means many people often settle for anything brown in a mug. At BeirutNightLife, we know a good thing when we taste it, so here are our top recommendations for the best tasting coffee in Beirut:
It’s only a few months old but Cafe Diem already has a reputation for being one of the tastiest cafes in Beirut. They serve Vascobelo, Belguium’s finest coffee, always prepared perfectly, and served with a homemade biscotti on the side. The place is warm, fresh and the perfect combination of classy and cozy. Plus they have delicious sandwiches, crepes and salad bar, so it’s no wonder its packed for lunch and a magnet for true coffee lovers.
Location: Sodeco, Petro Trad Street (next to Classic Burger)
It’s super casual, well-priced and there are several well-located branches around Lebanon, many of them close to universities. Cafe Younes serves some of the best-tasting coffee in the country, and it’s no wonder because they’ve been in the business since 1935. They have single-bean coffees and also make their own signature blends of premium quality Arabica beans, and the best part is that they roast their own coffee — which is always a mark of great flavor. The cups of coffee are smooth and refreshing, and perfect to savor at their comfortable shops or on the go.
Locations: Hamra, Sodeco, Abdel Aziz Street, Aley and Byblos
Paul is a world renowned bakery-patisserie and restaurant chain, with branches in tens of countries around the world. They surely bake delicious bread and fancy pastries and serve food, but they also know a lot about good coffee. The maison de qualite began its story in 1839 in France, and today it’s still best at classic French coffee. They may not have a lot of fancy flavored coffee drinks, but they make a solid espresso, cappuccino and latte, perfectly, every single time.
Locations: ABC Ashrafieh, Gemmayze Avenue Georges Haddad, Downtown Beirut Abdallah Beihum Street, Zaytuna Bay, Le Mall Dbayeh, Ghazir
Although it started in 2003 as a bakery by architect Walid Atiyeh who at the time couldn’t find decent bread in Beirut, Bread Republic is now known for more than just its baked goods. The shops are landmarks in Ashrafieh and Hamra, bustling with delicious reasons to come back — including their great coffee, but also loads of international dishes made with the freshest of products. The baristas definitely know how to make a good cup and their most addictive coffee is probably the refreshing semi-freddo: a scoop of perfect Oslo vanilla ice cream inside a just-brewed espresso cup. Drink it quick!
Locations: Ashrafieh Furn el Hayek area, and Hamra Street
Beirut’s hip destination for work and play, Urbanista’s two locations are always packed with busy businesspeople on lunch breaks and meetings, students trying to study, and the trendy crowd chilling out in style. The diverse crowd comes for the chill atmosphere, delicious food and of course the coffee. On offer is coffee from the world-renowned La Colombe roasters, which is served in coffee elitist hangouts in the US. Try their especially delicious flavored coffees, such as the incredible coconut cold frappe and creamy hazelnut latte.
Locations: Gemmayze Gouraud Street, and Hamra Bliss Street